It would be an exaggeration to say the fate of the iSCSI storage market rests on the Cisco SN 5428 Storage Router, but the success of this product will surely act as a barometer for the rest of the industry.
From both a symbolic and functional standpoint, Cisco Systems Inc.s SN 5428 bridges the gap between the worlds of IP networking and Fibre Channel SANs (storage area networks)—eliminating the need to implement costly Fibre Channel switches and host bus adapters and enabling organizations to break away from direct access storage.
The Cisco SN 5428—which has eight 2G-bps Fibre Channel ports that are used to hook in storage devices and two Gigabit Ethernet ports that act as uplinks to the IP network—is suited primarily for small and midsize businesses.
This puts it a step below Nishan Systems Inc.s enterprise-class IPS 3000-series switch, which has eight ports that can be either Gigabit Ethernet or Fibre Channel. (No plans for an enterprise version of the Cisco router have been announced.)
During eWeek Labs tests using the Cisco SN 5428, we were able to easily link Fibre Channel-based RAID and solid-state disk units to test servers using standard Ethernet switches and adapters. Two Cisco SN 5428 routers can be linked for high availability.